This is getting out of hand!

We are now three weeks into protests, marches, hashtags, and so many other demonstrations after yet another death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police. I personally have attended two of the demonstrations (one march/vigil, another sit down protest) and it felt great to finally be able to speak out about simply wanting to be treated equal in a country that is supposed to be “The land of the free and home of the brave”. 

But something is brewing. We are seeing the true colors of many people in our lives that we would never have imagined would take the stance against equality. They look at anyone that says “Black Lives Matter” and they immediately are telling us to be quiet. Shut up. Sit down. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Don’t protest. Stop taking down our monuments. Why don’t you just leave our little town alone. We don’t want you here!

Over the last few weeks, a phrase keeps appearing in comment sections announcing new protests or the removal of confederate generals.

“This Is Getting Out Of Hand!”

I’ve seen that phrase used after links are shared for stories about brands that have stood by the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve also seen it used if a company has decided to change their branding that features reminders of America’s earlier trend of using Jim Crow era tropes. Word for word, comment section after comment section: “This is getting out of hand!” is mentioned, followed by outraged phrases like “these THUGS are erasing our history” or several different “What-About-isms”. I feel this phrase needs unpacked a bit. 

{This} * {is getting out of hand!}

“This – When referring to the changes that are happening in this country because of the Black Lives Matter protests, I believe that the subsequent results happening on a daily basis can be all rolled into the word “This”. The highest occurrence of the phrase appears to be two fold: In comments mentioning the removal of Confederate statues or referencing another weekend of scheduled protests. First, I wanted to garner a better understanding of these statues given that I want to be clear of why they were erected in the first place. I did some research.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, history professor at University of North Carolina Mark Elliot states that:

“Most of these monuments did not go up immediately after the war’s end in 1865. During that time, commemorative markers of the Civil War tended to be memorials that mourned soldiers who had died.” He also states that “Eventually they started to build [Confederate] monuments,” he says. “The vast majority of them were built between the 1890s and 1950s, which matches up exactly with the era of Jim Crow segregation.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s research, the biggest spike was between 1900 and the 1920s.

“All of those monuments were there to teach values to people,” Elliott says. “That’s why they put them in the city squares. That’s why they put them in front of state buildings.” Many earlier memorials had instead been placed in cemeteries.

The values these monuments stood for, he says, included a “glorification of the cause of the Civil War.”

White women were instrumental in raising funds to build these Confederate monuments. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, founded in the 1890s, was probably the most important and influential group, Elliott says.

In fact, the group was responsible for creating what is basically the Mount Rushmore of the Confederacy: a gigantic stone carving of Davis, Lee and Jackson in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Its production began in the 1910s, and it was completed in the 1960s.

What we are dealing with here is a clear indicator of what the statues and monuments purpose is: “A reminder of what once was and hopefully what is to come”. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I had visited many small towns in the bible-belt where the phrase “The South will rise again” was constantly heard. The main argument used by Confederate Monument apologists is that “history should not be erased. That we should keep them as a reminder of where we’ve come from”. A quote from the far right website “The Federalist”:

“It’s a mistake not because there was anything noble about the Confederacy or its raison d’être, which was slavery, but because there is something noble—and, for a free people, necessary—about preserving our history so we can understand who we are and how we should live.”

Newsflash. There are these new things called museums! Let’s take a look at Germany and how they handled the German Reich (aka Nazi Germany). Hitler’s regime lasted 12 years. The confederacy lasted 4+. How do the German’s reflect and remember their mistakes? Based on research given in an absolutely fascinating article in the Economist, German citizens approach Hitler and the Third Reich pretty much the same. Wanting to move away from the atrocities committed by the regime and show that they have moved far away from it. One particular example stood out to me:

Other Germans have complex cocktails of emotions. They are extra-keen to do good—by helping refugees, for example.  

Ultimately, the contrast of the United States Confederacy and the German Reich have one glaring difference: Germany has zero monuments to Nazi Germany and it’s generals. They are not proud of Hitler’s reign. They are not proud of what the Third Reich did to the Jewish people. Their children do not go to Heinrich Himmler High School. They do not eat their schnitzel with Anne Frank Gravy. What I’m getting at is if you want to remember history, and learn from it; do not flaunt it in effigies in your town square. I know that by saying that, some may say I’m being “uppity” and need to stop because this…

“is getting out of hand! – This is the part that is a bit more troublesome. A little history first: The whole phrase originates from horseback riding. If the rider lets go of the reins, the horse is now out of control. Meaning that you no longer have control. If the monuments to these Confederate “heroes” is a representation of superiority, oppression and enslavement, then yes; this needs to “get out of hand”. If systemic racism within the law enforcement & judicial system is still prevalent, and yet its existence is denied by the same people that have never experienced it, then yes; this needs to “get out of hand”

The requests for these statues to come down coupled with the cries from millions of people pleading for the end of racial profiling, and at times killing of black people, have gone unheard. In fact, we are constantly met with threats when requesting something that, in any other case, would seem logical. For example, former Georgia State Rep Jason Spencer had this to say to a Democratic state rep:

Former Georgia State Jason Spencer

The lowest point was when Spencer told her that if she and others kept up their fight to rid the state of Confederate monuments, “I cant guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive.”

Later, removing any doubt, he said the people who want the statues gone “will go missing in the Okefenokee,” referring to a swamp and national wildlife refuge near his home town. “To many necks they are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

That alone, you would think would put his political career in jeopardy but that is not the reason Jason Spencer is “Former” Georgia State rep. No, that came from being duped, and embarrassed, by Sacha Baron Cohen for his TV show.

Requesting that a terrible period of US history and inequality in the fundamental systems that are supposed to keep us safe, are met with threats of (or actual) violence, dismissive rhetoric, and actual praise for their existence from the current commander in chief.  This is a long line of examples of why “This” needs to change. 

I have to confess that after writing all of this, I think that my opinion has changed. While we may believe the phrase in question is factual, our reasons are completely different. You say “This is getting out of hand!”

This is true. And it’s about time.

#BlackLivesMatter #GettingOutOfHand #ChangeIsComing


How we ended up with so many Monuments:

Not linking to the Federalist. Because no.

Nazi Germany information:,they%20transformed%20into%20a%20dictatorship.

How Germans React to the German Reich:

Systemic Racism in Policing:

Systemic Racism in the judicial system:

Jason Spencer on pulling statues down:

Jason Spencer resigns:

Trump Praises the “beautiful” statue of Andrew Jackson:

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